HARTFORD, Conn. — In this case, the score said it all: 92-4.
Sacred Heart Academy of Hamden defeated Lyman Hall-Wallingford by that margin in girls high school basketball on Monday night, a game of mismatched opponents that got out of hand. On Tuesday, Sacred Heart suspended coach Jason Kirck for one game as a result and school president Sister Sheila O’Neill issued a statement of remorse.
“Sacred Heart Academy values the lessons taught and cultivated through athletic participation including ethical and responsible behavior, leadership and strength of character and respect for one’s opponents,” O’Neill said in the statement. “Last night’s girls basketball game versus Lyman Hall High School does not align with our values or philosophies.
“Sacred Heart Academy Administration and Athletics are deeply remorseful for the manner in which the outcome of the game was achieved. We are in communication with Lyman Hall High School, the Southern Connecticut Conference and CIAC, and are addressing these concerns internally to ensure that our athletic programs continue to encourage personal, physical and intellectual growth.”
The school notified other Southern Connecticut Conference ADs that Kirck had been suspended one game and that he will not coach against Hamden on Thursday.
Sacred Heart is 3-0 and considered one of the best teams in the state with previous wins over Stamford, 83-48, and Shelton, 80-37. On Monday, the Sharks led 29-0 after one quarter, 56-0 at halftime and 80-0 after three quarters.
Kirck and AD Ray Degnan declined comment, referring to the school president’s statement. Sacred Heart did have its starters out of the game in the fourth quarter, and 12 different players scored, but did not slow down the pace of the game in the first half when it was obvious the score was getting out of hand. There are no rules to govern such a game in basketball, as there is in football, where “running time” is invoked once a team is far ahead, or baseball/softball, where there is a “mercy rule” to end a game early.
“Sacred Heart pressed for most of the first half then called it off and went into a tight man-to-man defense trying to get steals,” Lyman Hall coach Tom Lipka said in an email to The Hartford Courant. “They fast-breaked the entire game right to the end. They never went into a zone and continued to push the ball up the court and shoot threes whenever they could. They showed no mercy throughout.”
Lyman Hall is 0-5, with losses to Coginchaug, (43-31), Amity (55-37), Sheehan (72-38) and Middletown (65-36).
Don Amore, Hartford Courant